tv Late Night With Seth Meyers NBC March 23, 2016 12:37am-1:37am EDT
[ cheers and applause ] >> announcer: from 30 rockefeller plaza in new york, it's "late night with seth meyers." tonight -- henry cavill, writer and star of, "my big fat greek wedding 2," nia vardalos, former attorney general, eric holder, featuring the 8g band with fred armisen. [ cheers and applause ] ladies and gentlemen, seth meyers. >> seth: good evening, i'm seth meyers, this is "late night." how is everybody doing tonight? [ cheers and applause ] wonderful to hear. in that case let's get to the news.
televised address to cubans. and thousands of citizens television. [ laughter ] after facing attack ads focused on his past derogatory comments towards women, donald trump said yesterday, "nobody respects women more than i do." and then melania rolled her eyes so hard she saw brain. [ laughter ] donald trump met with the editorial board of the washington post yesterday. and called one of the editors beautiful when she asked him a question. in his defense, the question was, "what's the longest word you know." [ laughter ] senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell is drawing criticism after telling reporters that republicans won't confirm any supreme court nominee who doesn't have approval from gun lobbyists and the n.r.a. a surprising statement from a
[ laughter and applause ] a professional markswoman on youtube has posted an easter themed video testing out a bullet proof vest made out of peeps. just what jesus would have wanted. [ laughter ] american horror story creator, ryan murphy, revealed today that the next installment of the horror franchise will focus on creepy children. "we'll do it," said trump's sons. [ laughter and applause ] two students from brown university have created a brand of protein bar that is made from ground up crickets. they got the idea when they told some girls, "hey, we make our own protein bars." [ cricket sounds ] [ light laughter ] sweden is asking for help in stopping the migration of american lobsters to it's
diseases with the potential to wipe out the european lobster population. and if you can't tell the difference between american and european lobsters, we're the fat ones. [ laughter ] new jersey is considering a bill that would outlaw texting while walking, and make it punishable by 15 days in jail. and according to a new poll, people kept running into it. [ laughter and applause ] in an attempt to compete with website airbnb, hotel chains like hilton have begun offering cheap rooms as small as 65 square feet to court budget travelers. and yet there still won't be an outlet close enough to the bed to charge your phone. [ laughter ] and finally, facebook has announced that it would no longer support the facebook app on blackberry devices. which is extra sad, because blackberry users are the ones who most need to request
[ laughter ] ladies and gentlemen, we have a great show for you tonight! [ cheers and applause ] he is one of the stars of, "batman v. superman." henry cavill is here. [ cheers and applause ] she is the star and writer of "my big fat greek wedding 2," nia vardalos is in the house tonight. [ cheers and applause ] the wonderful, nia vardalos. and he is a former attorney general of the united states, eric holder is stopping by tonight. [ cheers and applause ] i do want to take a moment to address the awful incident that happened in belgium -- incidents, i should say, that happened in belgium this morning. what a terrible thing to wake up to. there is nothing i can say or anyone here can say to make anyone feel much better about that. but we do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the belgian people, and the people of brussels. so, that's the best we can do, i wish we could do more. [ applause ] moving on, president obama completed his two-day trip to cuba today.
to visit that country in 88 years. and, in a speech today, he called on the cuban government to expand social and political freedoms for its citizens. for more on this, it's time for "a closer look." [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: obama's trip to cuba is historic for any number of reasons. but it's especially striking given that in many ways, cuba lags behind the rest of the modern world. just look at this photo of air force one flying over cuba. [ light laughter ] it looks like it's traveling back in time. [ laughter ] that's air force one, as piloted by doc brown. [ laughter ] now, with normalized relations comes the promise of economic freedom to cuba. and american businesses have already begun expanding there. including airbnb, and even starwood resorts. which announced over the weekend that it will refurbish and manage two hotels in the cuban capital havana. and i apologize in advance, cuba because once you got hotels, it's only a matter of time before you're inundated with drunk american college kids on spring break
[ laughter ] still, opening up cuba to the free market offers the hope of economic cooperation. especially when it comes to one of cuba's greatest exports, cigars. there's already major demand among american consumers for cuban cigars which makes them a natural fit. or as one cigar salesman told cbs -- >> i feel it's like two lovers that are ready to meet, you know? there's a romance here, it feels both sides really want it to take place. now, it would be nice to just see it happen. >> seth: okay, something's going on with that guy, right? [ laughter ] i mean, either he really loves cigars or he's harboring a secret unrequited love for that reporter. [ laughter ] "i just feel if two people feel a connection, even if they just met five minutes ago, for a tv interview on a porch, they should just go for it." [ laughter ] also, two lovers is a terrible analogy for cigars. if there's a cigar involved, it's one lover saying to the other, "that smells like ass, put it out or i'm leaving." [ laughter ] now, despite the thawing of u.s.-cuba relations, this trip still had some awkward moments.
leaders of these two countries want different things. obama wants to engage with cuba to open that country to the rest of the world. and cuban president raul castro wants to use the meeting with obama to gain legitimacy on the world stage. and that awkwardness was never more on display than when the two men shared the most awkward handshake in presidential history. [ laughter and applause ] what? look. what is -- look at obama going rag doll limp. [ laughter ] that might be a puppet's arm. [ laughter ] that is the handshake of a man who does not want a photo taken. [ laughter ] but it's understandable that obama played handshake defense given how much flak he took earlier that day for being photographed in front of a mural of che guevara. many criticized obama, as this was seen as giving an implicit endorsement to urban outfitters. [ laughter ] conservatives are upset at the photo. but remember, when you visit
going to take a picture in front of a communist statue. even ronald reagan was once photographed in moscow under a bust of vladamir lenin. and george w. bush was photographed in vietnam in front of a statue of communist leader ho chi minh. or as george w. bush calls ho chi minh, "the guy from the billy joel song." [ laughter ] birth control, ho chi minh, richard nixon, back again. [ light laughter ] and my personal favorite, "trouble in the suez." [ laughter ] or, "belgians in the congo." i go back and forth. [ laughter ] as for the obama/castro press conference, the handshake wasn't the only awkward moment. because at obama's urging, castro actually took questions from the press. including a question about the jailing of political dissidents in cuba. and castro shocked journalists, by denying that the government keeps political prisoners. >> did you ask if we have political prisoners? give me a list of the political prisoners and i will release them immediately. just mention the list. what political prisoners? >> seth: "what political prisoners?" that's exactly what you say when you are holding political prisoners. [ laughter ]
all over his face saying, "i didn't eat the sweets, mamma, i've been a good boy. but my tummy hurts!" [ laughter ] in fact, cuba does still jail political dissidents. according to human rights watch, dozens of political prisoners remain in cuban prisons. although, even if raul castro was for it, obama should know, it's very hard to close a prison in cuba. but -- that's not here nor there. that's for a different day. [ laughter ] at the end of the day, the juxtaposition of new businesses dissidents reminds us that while engagement is good, more progress needs to be made. but president obama deserves credit for choosing diplomacy over isolation. and there are signs obama's visit is already having a positive impact for some cubans. as one cuban told the new york times, "everyone wants to know how we cubans feel about obama coming. i'm practically just happy that giant pothole finally got filled in. so if i have to thank him for it, thanks obama." it's nice to hear someone say, "thanks obama." without sarcasm for once.
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[ cheers and applause ] also, so happy this week, fred armisen is back on drums. hello, fred. how are you? >> fred: hi. [ cheers and applause ] thank you. >> seth: fred, congratulations, season finale of "portlandia" this thursday on ifc. congratulations on another great season of that. >> fred: thank you. thanks a lot. >> seth: although, fred and i were talking about this, "portlandia," perfect example of what some may say is a problem right now. tv has so many great shows on television it's hard to keep up with everything. i was complaining to fred about this. and he said to me, he does not have that problem, because he watches every episode of every television show on tv. do you stand by that statement? >> fred: yes. >> seth: okay. [ laughter ] every episode of every tv show? >> fred: yeah. >> seth: alright. [ light laughter ] that means it's time, once again, for "fred armisen's extremely accurate tv recap." alright, so, you know how this works. i'm gonna name a show that's on television. and based on the title, you're gonna tell me what it's about. >> fred: okay. >> seth: okay, great.
>> fred: "web of lies!" you know "web of lies," right? >> seth: no, i do not know. >> fred: have you not seen it? >> seth: i have not seen it. >> fred: i have to send it to you. >> seth: okay, great. >> fred: you have to see it. >> seth: okay. >> fred: so, "web of lies" is -- it's just a good old western. [ laughter ] you know, like, they just decided to go back. it's like a western and there's a sheriff and it's just low and they come through the doors and the sheriff comes in and so, it's that pace of life in the, you know, 1800s. it's just like, that makes food and walks around and it's hot. like, you get a real sense of the heat and the desert and the hot. so, it's really, you know, the sand and the dust. >> seth: yeah, yeah, yeah. >> fred: and the shoes are all dusty. hey, your shoes are dusty. like, i know. i know they're dusty. and so they go to the well and there's no water. [ laughter ] no water. so, it's just one of those --
grit, it's got that, you know, western. you know what i mean? >> seth: yeah. "web of lies" seems like a bad name for the show. >> fred: well, 'cause there's, i mean, it's more of a literal thing. 'cause there's cobwebs. [ laughter ] you know, people are lying, where did you go? store. no you didn't. well, you done caught me in a lie. i love it. >> seth: so, a lot of people do this? >> fred: lot of this. you know. >> seth: that's great. >> fred: yeah. >> seth: that's fantastic. i mean, 'cause i wanna see that show. according to tv guide, "web of lies" is an hour long docu-series that reveals tales of deception and homicide triggered by online interaction. >> fred: right, well, online is on the line. on that line. >> seth: okay, so that is -- >> fred: literal, yeah. >> seth: alright, great. so, "web of lies." thank you so much, fred for your extremely accurate tv recap. [ cheers and applause ] moving on, here at the show we believe that no matter how different two things are, they
and to prove it, it's time, once again, for "venn diagrams." [ cheers and applause ] you guys remember "venn diagrams," when you take two seemingly separate groups and find out what they have in common. first up, on one side we have an ncaa tournament pool. on the other side, we have chris christie's ikea chair. in the middle we have, busted bracket. [ laughter and applause ] busted bracket. moving on. one side, we have indiana jones movies, on the other side, we have drink with your co-workers. in the middle, we have should have stopped after four. the fifth drink with co-workers is the problem drink. moving on. one side, we have diamonds. on the other side, we have larry king. and in the middle we have things that are forever. [ light laughter ] moving on. on one side we have man buns, on the other side we have dry clean only shirts.
that never get washed. we can tell. we can tell you don't wash them. moving on. on one side we have donald trump protesters. on the other side we have low seeded ncaa teams, in the middle we have things that have a good chance of getting knocked out. [ laughter ] moving on. one side we have seaworld. the other side we have gym locker rooms. in the middle we have free willy. [ laughter and applause ] one of those willy's -- one of those willy's i want just to get caught again. moving on. one side we have the cute girl across the bar. on the other side we have t-mobile. in the middle we have no signal. [ laughter ] i'm getting t-mobiled over here. moving on. on one side we have q-tips. on the other side we have robin thicke song. in the middle we have things you shouldn't put in your ears. [ laughter ] we must have a lot of q-tip fans
finally, on one side, nasa, on the other side we have florida governor rick scott, in the middle we have, will eventually return to space. that's "venn diagrams," we'll be right back with more "late night. [ cheers and applause ] for dinner? it's a surprise. ok, but it better not be too pricey. don't worry, we've made some smart purchases lately. alright, i'll see you soon. do you take walk-ins? i'll make an exception. kenmore pro.
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>> tell me. do you bleed? you will. >> seth: please welcome to the show, henry cavill. [ cheers and applause ] how are you? [ cheers and applause ] how are you? >> very well, thank you. how are you? >> seth: i'm very good. congratulations on the film. this is highly anticipated film. but it's also film that is shrouded in secrecy. you're really not allowed to say much about it. >> absolutely nothing. this is gonna be the most boring [ light laughter ] you were just in a corner right now. this is -- even superman couldn't figure out how to get out of this jam. because here you are for this movie everyone wants to hear about and i'm like, tell me something about it. you got nothing. >> i cannot, no. there's -- warner brothers have planted assassins in the crowd. [ laughter ] >> seth: there you go.
>> yeah. >> seth: it's very exciting though. "batman v superman." going into it have you found people have a rooting interest? do you feel like when you meet fans they're hoping for superman? >> the ones who speak to me are. [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah, there you go. yeah. >> yeah, generally, the ones who are batman fans, they don't talk to anyone. >> seth: yeah, that's true. they're very -- they're loners. i think donald trump rootin' for batman. [ light laughter ] >> yes. >> seth: because of the illegal alien. [ laughter ] bernie sanders -- bernie sanders rootin' for superman 'cause batman's one of them billionaires. [ laughter ] so, that's -- i think some people go into with one or the other. >> right. >> seth: you mentioned comic book fans, very intense, but not the most intense fans you run into. is that the case? >> yeah, i find comic book fans, out of everyone, are the most polite. i was at a comic book store just yesterday and it only took the guy who was with me to be like, you can ask. it's alright. everyone's like, oh, i don't wanna bother him. >> seth: really?
>> seth: were they medicated? [ laughter ] >> no. >> seth: that's good to hear. have you had any -- there must be fans that cross the line with you? >> i've had some pretty intense ones, yeah. there was one guy who chased me through new york and every red light got out of his car, knocked on my window, and started shouting at people on the streets. >> seth: why? >> he just wanted an autograph. [ laughter ] or multiple autographs. >> seth: oh, was he one of those people that sort of says, "hey, can i just have one" and they have a thousand photos of you? >> yeah. >> seth: yeah. >> pre-prepped on cardboard. >> seth: and that he's actually like putting them into ebay as you sign them? [ laughter ] now, this is obviously your second time playing superman. i would imagine you went into it with some adjustments of what you'd like to be different from the first time to the second time costume wise. and i heard that you did make a key adjustment to the superman costume. >> yes, i spoke to the costume designer. and it was very, very important. i said it's -- the first suit
creatively, i would really like >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> whenever i choose. >> seth: how long does it take -- how long did it take to get out of it? [ laughter ] like, what was -- like how long did you have to wait? like, how long was the superman -- again, this is a guy who's supposed to go into a phone booth and just come out wearing it. >> yeah. it was -- it took awhile. i mean, the old suit it was about, i don't know, 15-20 minutes. >> seth: that's no good. >> new suit, it was a lot easier. >> seth: that's great. congratulations. >> thanks. [ laughter ] i mean, it made my life easier. >> seth: it's a very -- i will say, 'cause i've seen, it's a very conspicuous zipper. >> yeah. they're like, oh, no. it's artistic lines in the suit. it's a zipper. all. congratulations on getting the change. and now, i also wanna ask about this, 2011 --
how long it takes you to undress. [ light laughter ] and then like, while you're undressing like what else is going on? like, paint a picture. are like there people there? is it just you? >> do you have any photos? >> seth: yeah, do you listen to music? so you get the part in 2011 to play superman. but you thought you blew it. can you please tell us how? >> yeah, so, i got the part. and i had been flown over to l.a. to have my official meeting role. >> seth: the director, yeah. >> yeah. and also the trainer to be, mark twight, and i was in a hotel room that night. i went out for one drink with my agent to say, "whoa, we did it." >> seth: so, you know you've got the part now. >> yeah, yeah, i landed in l.a., dropped my bags at the hotel, met my agent for dinner and a drink, then went to bed and i passed out, a bit jet lagged and woke up to the sound of my door closing in my hotel room.
on the outside of my door and i had no clothes on. for me. >> and obviously -- [ laughter ] >> seth: so, wait, no clothes? >> no clothes. >> seth: okay. >> i gotten up to go for a pee. and the way the bed was set up was that at the foot of the bed was the entrance to the hotel, my room. and to the left of the bed was where the bathroom was. and so -- >> seth: i like that you're blaming room layout, 'cause i'm pretty sure that hadn't been a problem before. >> wait and see. i got out of the right side of the bed and just went straight to the first door i saw and woke up completely naked in the hallway. and thinking naked in the hallway's a pretty big problem. >> seth: yeah. >> but i needed to pee. and i was desperately thinking, where am i gonna pee? >> seth: so, naked was very secondary for you. [ laughter ] >> at this stage v ery secondary. >> seth: got it. >> so, i was like naked and
or a hotel hallway. the hallway and i was checking out pot plants and all sorts. >> seth: plants, based on every comedy i've ever seen, a potted plant's what you want when you're naked in a hallway. but i couldn't carry this thing around. big potted plants. >> i thought, do i pee in there? what if someone catches me, it's pretty bad. i remember there being a fire escape and so i ran up this fire escape, 'cause i, you know, the pool area on top of the tennis court and i thought maybe there's a bathroom up there. >> seth: you thought, how can i make this worse? >> yeah. [ laughter ] so, i ran up the fire escape to the roof. and it turned out to be a tennis court, which is all closed off. and i couldn't get anywere -- >> seth: what time was it? >> this was i think around 3:00 a.m. >> seth: okay, gotcha. >> and i then thought i've gotta pee. like, this is geting bad now. and so, i just pee'd off the top of the hotel. [ laughter ] i felt like a little boy again. >> seth: yeah. [ laughter ] >> and then it dawned on me that i still hadn't quite solved the problem, 'cause i was locked outside my hotel room naked and
>> seth: right. >> so, i then thought, you know what, you just gotta suck it up, get downstairs and ask for your key. >> seth: if i was naked, sucking it up would be the first thing i'd do. [ laughter ] >> i realized -- [ cheers and applause ] i'm glad you went with that kind of sucking it up. and so, i thought, you know what, ride the elevator down. be a man about it. and i got in the elevator, went down to the lobby and i thought, okay, this guys gonna laugh at me. walked into the reception, i said to the receptionist, i'm like, this is really embarrassing -- sounded like that, really embarrassing. i locked myself out of my hotel room and can i have my key to get back in. and he says "yeah, of course, what room you in? doesn't bat an eye, doesn't even look up. and i was thinking, how often does this happen at the hotel? [ laughter ] >> seth: yeah. >> like, why have i met no one else in the hallway at this stage? high fiving naked dudes walking pass. >> seth: the door? you get wrong door? yeah, wrong door. >> yeah, you too?
security and security walked me back upstairs. which was an awkward elevator ride, by the way. [ laughter ] and he was a bit more freaked out than the receptionist. clearly his first time. and let me back in. but i was pretty sure -- i didn't sleep for the rest of that night and i was pretty sure that i was gonna have been caught on camera and lost the job. >> seth: yeah, that's not how -- that's not a good way to introduce superman to the world. >> i now put -- i now put chairs up against the hotel door every hotel that i sleep in. >> seth: well, thank you so much for sharing that and thank you so much for being here. congrats on the film. >> thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: henry cavill, everybody. "batman v superman: dawn of justice" opens everywhere march 25th. we'll be right back with more
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back to "late night" everybody. our next guest is the golden globe oscar nominated actress who wrote and starred in the breakout hit "my big fat greek wedding." you can see her in the highly anticipated sequel "my big fat greek wedding 2" in theaters this friday. let's take a look. >> take your husband on a date. don't worry about anything. -- i will stay with -- i'll talk to her. i'll scare her out of moving away from her family. i'm just kidding. >> oh, okay. >> not really. have fun. laugh. love. one rule, don't fight. which means don't talk about your daughter. remember, you are a girlfriend
okay? you're welcome. shave everything. [ laughter ] >> seth: please welcome to the show, nia vardalos. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome to the show. it's so good to see you, again. >> hello, hello. i'm so happy for you. >> seth: thank you so much. i'm so happy for you. >> you know what? the cesspool known as show business. >> seth: yes. >> and we are doing okay. >> seth: we are doing okay. we're trying to float in that cesspool. >> just in the middle. just in middle ground. that's all. >> seth: now this is, as i sequel. you took a very long time off between these two films. best possible reason >> yes. >> seth: and you are raising your daughter, which is fantastic. >> yeah, yeah.
into the game myself. you have some pets. >> you must have pets. >> seth: you let the child have pets? >> yes, we adopted two dogs. and also, she won these two goldfish in a fair. and brought them home and they didn't look great. she named them after her two coaches at school. >> seth: okay, that's nice. >> coach kale and coach hall. and they lasted about a day and a half and then they were dead. dead. she got on the bus to school and the older kids were so sweet to her. they were like, "hey, what's up, kindergardener?" she was so upset about the fish. she said coach kale and coach hall died. >> seth: oh, no. >> and they didn't know the names of the pets. they were like, "what happened?" and she went, "i think they were sick." the kids on the bus were like, "what?" she went, "maybe they were fighting." the kids were like envisioning a murder-suicide at school.
>> seth: right. >> so the school bus pulls up. coach kale and coach hall are on school bus duty. so the school bus doors open and the kids get out and were like ahh! >> seth: exactly a ghost. they would -- because, you know, you would of course go back and haunt the school. >> exactly. >> seth: yeah. that's what i would do. >> it was her first rumor spreading. >> seth: i will say, when they give out goldfish at fairs, they are basically saying, "this will teach your children about death." >> yes. [ laughter ] they were like, "get ready for a lesson on grief." >> seth: yeah. get close to them and you shall lose them. >> yes. >> seth: one of the great things about your films is how much they have to do with family and how much they have to do with your own family. >> yes, i -- from experience. >> seth: yes, very much so. and one of the things that is most memorable about these films is windex being used as sort of a cure all. >> yes. >> seth: for zits and warts. that's a true thing for your family? >> my dad used it on everything from warts to cleaning light switches and still doesn't have a deal. >> seth: windex still won't throw a little scratch his way? >> i don't get it. throw the guy some canadian
>> seth: there you go. with that said, are there any traditions that have not made the film? >> i usually take from my real life. there's a moment in that scene actually that you just showed, it is completely appropriate in my family to give tweezers as a gift. it's just -- basically saying, "get to that unibrow immediately." for my birthday, i got a gift certificate from my cousin for laser hair removal. >> seth: and no one takes offense to this? >> nobody takes offense. no we're just like this, "oh, thank you." [ laughter ] >> seth: now your family were extras in the film. in the first film. are they extras again? >> yes. definitely. they all show up to be in my movie. >> seth: okay. >> they are always around. >> seth: how deep in the vardalos's are we going? >> i have 27 first cousins. and they are all married and they have children. >> seth: okay. >> in the film, just look for my face with different wigs. [ laughter ] >> seth: okay. >> they are all there. they are all there. >> seth: how do they behave as extras? are they good? >> pretty good.
them where to put the camera. because now he knows which is his better side. >> seth: okay, you have to get the best side of the extras. that's how films are made. >> that's exactly the way to a box office success, yes. we were doing this very quiet kissing scene. john corbett and i were doing this moment where we were going to kiss. and it was just this thing that we had been leading up to and the cast had been let go and we were by ourselves with the director and the producer, and just really enjoying this moment. so we do this scene and you know, it's slightly intimate. and i just look over, oh there's my cousin chris. he's right there, peaking. and he goes -- [ laughter ] >> seth: with 27 first cousins, i imagine like growing up that was your life as well. every time you kiss a boy, you turned and saw family. >> oh yes. you cannot have an affair in a greek family because you will turn around, your aunt will be right there going, "what are you doing?" [ laughter ] >> seth: is it true that fans of yours, obviously, this movie, the first movie was a
number one romantic comedy of all time. fans give you things when they see you? >> it's really sweet. yes. >> seth: these are not planned gifts? >> no. this lady on the street in athens, i think she was from sweden. and she said, "i love your movie, here and gave me her bracelet." >> seth: really? >> i was like, "oh my god, that's amazing." another man took off his shirt and gave it to me. i have a collection of things that have been given to me. it's really, really nice. >> seth: people should make more greek themed movies because you just clean up on the street. >> i really -- i get stuff, yes. >> seth: well that's fantastic. congratulations on everything. it's always so lovely to see you. >> thank you so much. thank you. >> seth: so great. >> right back at you. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: nia vardalos everybody. "my big fat greek wedding 2" is in theaters friday. we'll be back with former attorney general eric holder.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> seth: welcome back to "late night" everybody. our next guest served as the united states attorney general for six years under president obama. please welcome to the show, eric holder. [ cheers and applause ] >> seth: how are you? >> it's good to be here. >> seth: you look well. >> yeah, when you get away from house republicans, this tends to make you look better. >> seth: you do. you look younger. but you do kind of have the obama. was your hair that gray before you were attorney general? >> it was not this gray and i had more of it. thank you, mr. president. >> seth: thank you on behalf of america for giving it away for us. >> these are the sacrifices i prepare to make for our country. >> seth: thank you very much. so, real quick, in your own words, how would you describe the job of attorney general? >> it's a tough job.
the country. so you have the responsibility of enforcing criminal laws. but there's also an anti-trust division, a civil division, environmental and actual resources division. so everything that the government does that has some attorney general is ultimately responsible for it. have prosecuted terrorists for their acts. i would like to get your thoughts on the tragedy in brussels and the difficulty not only in catching people like this but prosecuting them. >> obviously, my thoughts and prayers are with the belgian people. and especially -- in belgium who works so closely with them and trying to deal with these issues. these are tough cases to prosecute. but we have shown, i think in the united states we have the capability of trying to take in our civilian courts as opposed to those misguided individuals. tend to be republicans, who want to try them in military court. we have to have faith in our system of justice, which is the best in the world and we have handled hundreds of these cases in the united states. >> seth: to build against that is one of the things that became hard to accomplish in your time
that was something that would have taken place in federal court if you had it your way. is there any future for that? >> well, you know, this is one of those things where i don't want to be boastful or anything but i was 100% right and my critics were 100% wrong. >> seth: that's not boastful. that doesn't sound boastful at all. >> it's factual. it's factual. [ laughter ] >> seth: that's factual, yeah. >> when i said we should try khalid sheikh mohammed here in manhattan in federal court. if we would have done that, he would have been on death row right now as opposed to wallowing in guantanamo for six years or so with no prostects. he's going to go to trial. it's because people lost faith in our system of justice. >> seth: another thing, i feel like many people are losing faith in now, we obviously have an opening on the supreme court. you dealt with them closer than most. what is the impact of republicans refusing to vote on a replacement and is that obstructionism in your mind? >> i think it's the height of irresponsibility. the motion that a court would be not at full strength or make it until this time next year under the plan that i guess senator
that many important decisions the court will consider will do so understaffed. we could potentially go without a full supreme court for almost a year which i believe will be the longest time that that has happened since the civil war. especially given the fact that we have merrick garland, who is a very qualified, mainstream judge republicans have said positive things about him before. he is ready and he ought to be on the court. >> seth: now, i want to ask about how you first met president obama. is it true that you met at a dinner party in chicago? >> i'm now -- no longer attorney general, so i can tell the truth. no, we actually met, we were both born in kenya. [ laughter ] his village came over to my village. >> seth: understood, yeah. >> it was a social gathering. he and i hatched a plan. we both -- he was younger than we both said, "you know what? out." i said, "i'm with you, barack." he said, "why don't we go to the united states?" and so we migrated, tramp
mexico. >> seth: okay, gotchya. [ laughter ] you just climb over them. so, even if there was a longer wall, you would, you would have made it. >> well if it's a ten foot wall, you just get a 12 foot ladder. >> seth: there you go, okay. [ laughter ] thank you for being honest because obviously, that is something you had to keep from the people. >> i was just kidding, just kidding, just kidding. i was born in the bronx. >> seth: right. [ laughter ] though you did meet at a dinner party. you met him at a dinner party. and then he gives you this job. you know, i want to talk real quick about your legacy because you did do it for six years. one of the things, a credit to you, is you announced in 2011 that you would not enforce the defense of marriage act which define marriages between a man and woman. this is a huge step towards the legalization of gay marriage which the supreme court did a few years later. what brought you, because i feel like a lot of people say that their opinions, their feelings evolved on gay marriage. and i would imagine that the department of justice, there was a lot of conversation about the decisions to not enforce d.o.m.a.
pretty split. the tradition of the department is to defend any statute that congress passes as constitutional if there is some basis for that and there were the traditionalists who said that's what we needed to do. we also have the ability to look at the statute from afresh. and it just seemed to me that, if you look at the history of the defense of marriage act, all the ugly things that were said in its passage, it was time to put our government, my justice department on the right side of history and for marriage equality and more broadly, more equality for all of our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters. and so i think the decision i made was historically the right one and it was -- the very conservative supreme court just a few months later. >> seth: you are a prosecutor, obviously. prosecutors, i think we have this idea they want to put the bad guys away. you also though believe in criminal justice reform which often leads, i think more often than no, to less people being in jail as opposed to more. explain the importance of having the right people in jail and not the wrong people. >> i mean, i think we have to use limited resources that we
system to make sure we have the right people in jail for the right length of time. and i think, in the past, we have, the war on drugs put low level drug offenders in jail for too long a period of time, which is bankrupting the system. one part of the justice department's budget now goes to the bureau of prisons. and to the extent that if we don't check that, it's going to grow and grow and grow which will exclude our ability to fund the fbi, the dea. any other parts of the department. and there's just the justice thing as well. you have people serving 10, 15, 20 year sentences for non violent crimes. and that i think is inconsistent with who we say we are as a people. >> seth: now one criticism has been that -- >> a criticism of me? >> seth: yes, i'm going to be real quick. i'm sure i'm 100% wrong. there were not -- >> i'm supposed to be your guest. >> seth: i know. that's why i was really nice to you up until now. [ laughter ] >> last time i'm doing this show. no wall street prosecutions. no wall street bankers went to jail after something we can agree, you know, sort of turned this country upside down as far as our financial system went.
jail? >> there were bankers that did go to jail. i think people are concerned that these very high level bankers didn't go to jail. but, i think you have to understand, if we could have made those cases, we certainly they are the kinds of things that are career defining. people come to the justice department to make these kinds of cases. and given the statutes that we had to work with, the burden proof that we had to meet, we were simply unable to do that. if we could have made the cases we certainly would have. and as i love the department, i made suggestions to congress about changes in the law so that a situation like this would not repeat itself. >> seth: i'm sure if you told congress, then everything will be fine next time. >> they listen to me all the time. all the time. >> seth: they listen to you all the time. why wouldn't they? last thing i want to ask, you know, we have someone running for president who keeps talking about making america great again. and i think talking about this bygone era, obviously you've done a lot for civil rights. is it worrisome to you that someone is talking about this america of the past that pre-dates all of these improvements in civil rights.
this country where it is today. >> making america great again, america is great. america is great, has been great and will be great. we don't want to go back to a past, at least i think in donald trump's mind, that america really never existed or maybe exists only a select number of people. if you are a person of color, if you were gay, the america of 40 and 50 years ago was not the most hospitable place. we want to say where we are. build on the progress that we have made and make sure the america of the 21st century is better than the one that was in give up the little stupid hats and lets work together and make [ cheers and applause ] like a plan. here. i really appreciate it. eric holder, everybody. we'll be right back.